How small can an SUV get and still be called that—an SUV? Well really small if you believe Maruti Suzuki. The latest launch from the stable of India’s largest car maker is the S-Presso a car that has been labeled as a Mini SUV. Looking at the company’s dominance in the small car space in the country for the decades now, you would certainly trust Maruti with every single hatchback they come out with. But is that simple anymore especially with some worthy products from its rivals now running on our roads. I got behind the wheels of this B-segment entry in and around Jodhpur to get you these impressions.

Looks

Despite its rather small dimensions one can clearly see that the effort has been made to make this car look a lot like an SUV. The upright A-pillar, squared wheel arches with 14-inch wheels and a high ground clearance all point to that. What also aid in giving a bold stance are the single aperture head lamp and grille graphic along with wide C-signature tail lamps. However, if you’re looking for features like LED DRLS, skid plates, wheel arch claddings and a spoiler you will only find them on the accessory list. If you can spend a bit more definitely check out two customisation options called Expedition and Energetic as they add a whole lot to the S-Presso to make it look more appealing.

Interiors

The standout element when it comes to the cabin is the round centre console that Maruti says is inspired from tough sports watches. It houses the all-digital instrument cluster (not placed behind the steering wheel), power window switches (only front power windows available) and the Smartplay studio infotainment system which is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The colour scheme is largely black and the cabin gives you enough storage options. The car also gets steering mounted audio and voice controls. The position of the gear lever will take some time in getting used to as you have to dig deep to reach it. The seats too on the both the rows do not get adjustable headrests. Knee and head room is rather good on the second row but to make three adults sit here in decent comfort will be a task. Finally 240 litres of boot space is more than what you usually get in the segment.

The standout element when it comes to the cabin is the round centre console that Maruti says is inspired by tough sports watches.

 Engine

The S-Presso runs on a 1.0 litre K10 engine that delivers surprisingly good numbers. While maximum power stands at 68 PS the more impressive number is torque which at its peak is 90 Nm. And that aids you well while shifting the gears as there is always enough power available to help you make your maneuvers. And it stays at par even with the AGS variant which really helps especially on inclines. The creep function also comes in handy in bumper to bumper traffic. While the company can still work on giving you a quieter cabin it is the kitna deti hai factor that will bring a smile on your face as the car is capable of delivering around 20 kmpl consistently. The good thing is that this engine is compliant to upcoming BS6 emission norms making it eighth car from Maruti Suzuki stable to subscribe to these laws.

 Ride & Handling

This “Mini-SUV” has been built on the 5th generation HEARTECT platform, Maruti says it uses 40% high tensile steel that ensures stronger, safer and sturdier structure. That helps in the occupants getting a more confident drive in the car. The stability is largely there but in some scenarios the tallboy design means that some bit of body roll comes into play. The ride quality though is one of the highlights as the car is able to take on the all kinds of road conditions pretty well. Looking at the segment safety is decent with the car getting dual airbags (though not standard), ABS with EBD and reverse parking sensors.

 Verdict

While the performance, features and practicality meet expectations the design of the S-Presso seems to have the opinion divided, especially after the recent launch of the Renault Kwid facelift. Having said that with the festive season well and truly on there can be no better time for India’s biggest car maker to launch a small car. In these troubled times the S-Presso feels just like what the doctor ordered to help bring the company back in the green zone. Starting at Rs 3.69 lakh (ex-showroom) and going up to 4.91 lakh (for top AGS variant) the prices too seem competitive for the S-Presso to do the trick.

 

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